Postgame: That Was Flattering

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 06: Alternate Captain Anze Kopitar  of the Los Angeles Kings congratulates teammates after the NHL game against the Nashville Predators at Staples Center on November 6, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. The Kings defeated the Predators 4-1. (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)

The quest continues for the Calgary Flames as they try to string back-to-back wins together for the first time since late October…it wouldn’t come on Thursday night, as they fell 2-1 at the hands of the Los Angeles Kings.  However, had it not been for Miikka Kiprusoff in net, this game could have been far more slanted towards the home side.

What Happened

The Flames actually got off to a pretty good start, controlling the opening ten minutes of this hockey game, and getting a few quality scoring chances.  One of those chances resulted in a Flames goal, at least at first…Matt Stajan kicked in a puck bouncing around the goal mouth, but upon review, it was deemed Stajan made a visible kicking motion, and the goal didn’t count.  And from that point forward, the Kings looked pretty darn good…and they scored the opening goal at 12:08, thanks to Kyle Clifford’s first NHL goal.  Going hard to the net, Clifford deflected a Wayne Simmonds pass off his skate to put the Kings up 1-0 after 20.  It’s imortant to point Miikka Kiprusoff made as good a save as you’ll ever see on Jarret Stoll in the first period.

The second period was all Kings…it wasn’t even close.  Granted, LA had the benefit of a few powerplays in the middle frame, but Calgary was worked at even strength as well.  Shots ended up 11-4 in favor of the Kings while scoring chances were 10-3, and they were the better team throughout the middle frame.  Kiprusoff had to make a number of saves, and Calgary was very fortunate to come away only trailing by a goal after 40.

The third period saw the Flames come out with a little jump, which is exactly what they needed.  The fact is, they were outplayed for 20 straight minutes, but still had a chance to win this hockey game…and they had a couple opportunities early in the final frame.  But a Robyn Regehr tripping call at 4:27 gave the Kings their fifth powerplay of the game, and they’d cash…a Jack Johnson point shot would break the stick of Curtis Glencross, and Anze Kopitar would bang home the bouncing puck at 5:10 to give the Kings a 2-0 lead.  Calgary would start to press a little bit towards the latter stages of the third period, and would get a powerplay late…an Olli Jokinen goal at 16:39 got the Flames back within one.  It was the first powerplay goal scored against the Kings at home this season, but it was as close as Calgary would get.

One Good Reason…

…why the Flames lost? Uh…because they weren’t good enough.  Los Angeles could have put this one far out of reach in the second period, and they played pretty good hockey throughout.  The Flames were credited with 20 giveaways, which sounds about right.  Calgary was soft at both bluelines, and spoiled numerous opportunities to stall LA cycles…when the Flames don’t play smart, they usually don’t win.  That’s what happened on this night.

Red Warrior

EDMONTON, AB - NOVEMBER 29: Miikka Kiprusoff  of the Calgary Flames makes a blocker save against the Minnesota Wild at Scotiabank Saddledome on November 29, 2010 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The Flames beat the Wild 3-0. (Photo by Dylan Lynch/Getty Images)
 

This one is easy…Miikka Kiprusoff.  His jaw dropping save in the first period perhaps overshadows just how good he was on this night.  The second period turned in by #34 was probably his best of the season, making numerous difficult saves on quality Kings chances.  Overall, Kiprusoff made 30 saves, and I thought this was his strongest outing of 2010-11 campaign.

Sum It Up

Calgary just wasn’t up to snuff on this night, and once again, they trailed a hockey game after 40.  The Kings are very, very strong defensively and we saw that on this night, so it was a formula that probably wasn’t going to work for Calgary heading into the third.  Yet, the Flames were worked in the second and came away just down by the one goal…yet the unforced errors that plagued them in the first two periods were still there in a third period they needed to win.  Win one, lose one isn’t going to cut it…but lose two really isn’t, so win in Anaheim tomorrow night.

Pertinent to note, Rene Bourque’s spear on Drew Doughty late in the third period may get looked at by the league.  I got a lot of response on Twitter about my initial reaction, saying that Doughty embellished.  Who knows; but what is Bourque doing? Very, very stupid.

  • SmellOfVictory

    It really didn’t look like much more than a wee poke. Painful? Sure. But I don’t think you’re going to injure anyone with something that light.

  • George.T.

    soooo anyone wanna take a guess when this donkey show of a team gets to rebuild, retool, revaluate the leadership ie. Dutter 1 and 2…its obvious that this season is gone like a donut with a fat kid..At this point we need to finish dead last that the first pick..trade the dead anchors(on and off the ice) …if possible, and who knows two years from now we maybe be on top again. Ill be a fan no matter what, but the frustration is becoming exhausting

  • George.T.

    So on June 25 Darryl said, “We’re one player away from being an elite team.” Since then he’s brought in:
    – Olli Jokinen (BUST)
    – Alex Tanguay (GREAT)
    – Ryan Stone (Hasn’t played a minute)
    – Raitis Ivanis (Played 1 game)
    – Tim Jackman (Done OK)
    – Tom Kostopoulos (What?)
    – Anton Babchuk (Overrated)
    Who is that ONE GUY? They have added SEVEN players and taken a step back. Where is he all knowing Darryl?

      • one player away,really darryll? sidney crosby or christ himself maybe. kent can you compile the flames win lose record dating back to brent sutter’s huge dressing room blow up last year. i believe it was nov 19. dion was assumed to be the primary target.it was either in cali or colorado. the flames were sniffing at fifth or so at the time. i went on record as saying the players threw him under the bus. would love to see the stats since the screaming match.

  • CitizenFlame

    Ugh, I got sucked in again even though I said that I wouldn’t. What an idiot! I actually thought that Calgary would string two wins together. I thought they had a chance since LA seems to have been struggling (what were they 3-5-2 in the last 10?) But I the Flames are the tonic that any struggling team needs to get over what ails them.

  • CitizenFlame

    Two things that I’m wondering about right now. First the goaltending situation, does Karlsson get the start in Anaheim or does Calgary get desperate and start to play Kipper every game? And if by January we’re out of the playoff picture, does Karlsson maybe start to split games with Kipper or at least get some serious playing time to speed up development?

    Secondly, does this loss affect the team’s psychological state. After a week of every interview mentioning the importance of winning a couple of games in a row I wonder if this deflates the team? Hopefully the quick turnaround for Anaheim keeps them from dwelling on it too much.

  • everton fc

    @CitizenFlame

    Kipper starts in Anaheim. Another loss, and we could be on the cusp of a season-ending losing streak.

    Things are that fragile right now… and it’s not even Christmas.

  • Flamin Cannot's

    does anyone know the flames record dating back to brent sutter’s big blow up in cali last season. if memory serves me correct it was in san jose and the media overheard the screaming.at the time it was assumed that the primary target was dion.just interested to see if this episode was the beginning of the end.

  • This team is like a bad boyfriend. He treats you like a piece of garbage for three games, then gives you some hope by winning one. You don’t know why you keep coming back, all you know is you can’t stop.

    Now, for my next trick, watch as Curtis McElhinney posts a 41-save shutout over Calgary tonight in Anaheim.

  • T&A4Flames

    Is it just me or does it seem that in the last couple of years the Flames have been a lot of players “1st NHL goal” team. Last night was Clifford, Tue, was Harju. It just seems to happen all the time. Either that or players milestone marks (500th goal etc.).

    • icedawg_42

      That, or whenever someone needs to break a losing skid, or scoring drought it’s always the Flames…when I hear a pregame show saying
      “this guy hasnt scored in…” or “this powerplay hasnt scored in…” I always think “oh no, here it comes”

  • icedawg_42

    i have research the flames results. i failed to factor in overtimes and shootouts. however, prior to brent sutter’s big blow up, the flames were 12 wins 7 loses. since the screaming match the flames when 27 and 34 to finish the year out of the playoffs.factor in this year and they are 39 wins 49 loses. we need a thorough investigate into these numbers. so is it the system? the players? or a higher power.

    • icedawg_42

      So what are you saying here – do you believe the players have quit on Butter? To me it seems like they are “trying” to play the “system” more lately…albeit without any consistency.

      • T&A4Flames

        i truly believe the flames fall from contender to pretender began that fateful night. the well documented screaming match seems to be the catalyst.the team began to tank after this, the results were not imediate however they tarted to stumble. to go from fifth to an organization in need of a transfusion in such a short time frame suggests bigger issues than talent.i would like to see the data compiled and analysed. lets determine if there is a direct correlation. i surely believe there is. the system is not that difficult to grasp, its basically the very first sysyem one learns playing hockey.defensive accountability and back checking, playing your man is taught in atom. thats when i learned the fundamentals of the team game. the sutter system is not anything new.

  • T&A4Flames

    I’m the same way. Although I do have to say it works the other way as well, all the talk yesterday about the Kings not allowing a PP goal at home yet this year, I was pretty confident it would be the small consolation the Flames would take out of this game.

  • Glad to see we scored on the PP at least.

    It’s unfortunate that this game was only 2-1 cause we got worked for most of it. I can see Darryl thinking, hey we only lost by 1 goal, we’re close.

  • icedawg_42

    I’d have loved to have been a fly on the wall back then! But you’re absolutely right…SOMETHING happened around that time and the team hasn’t looked the same since!